Saturday, May 14, 2016

Accept, More Than You Reject

Before you read further, I highly recommend you to go through the article: Delhi doctors use electric shock to treat homosexuality.

What do you feel as you read this? It makes my stomach churn. As I move forward with each paragraph of what these doctors do and justify their action, I wish to close the explorer. But I read on. Because, it's not just about those doctors who are making profit out of other people's ignorance. Well, many businesses are set up around other people's ignorance and fear. Take insurance industry, for example. But it's also about these 'other people' - the parents, guardians, siblings, relatives, caregivers, etc - who put their children to go through such traumatic experiences. It's also about those men, women and everyone else on the spectrum who have to go through this. And hence I plead.

To those who electrocute,

Your profession is god-like, they say. Don't mix your prejudice with profession. With Great power, comes great responsibility. Remember spiderman's uncle Ben? Read. Read some more. And more. Until your prejudices are washed off. Or at least, you learn to separate them from your work. You know, people take your words as religion. But know that your profession is not belief-based, as religions would, but science-based. So read. And learn. Don't mislead. As you believe, may be it's a disease. But may be it's not. Ask yourself, you have enough evidence to prove it to be a disease and hence you want to treat or you are filling your pocket with people's ignorance? You know the answer. Acknowledge that there's a huge space of "I don't know what I don't know". And that's okay. You are god-like, may be. But you are not god. And that's okay too. You know that it's not so much about sex. It's about love and life and such things. And even if it's only about sex, what's wrong? Don't let your homophobia run through those electric shocks. Rather, face it and learn. Learn about the homosexuals and the bisexuals and the pansexuals and the asexuals and the heterosexuals. The transgenders and transvestites and the gender-fluids. No, they are not sick of sexual disorders. But you are. Of Ignorance. Pause. Reflect. And treat the right patient.

To those who get electrocuted,

I know it's not easy. But, what has been easy, anyways? Remember that first time you learnt to ride a cycle, or for that matter anything? Was it easy to fall a hundred times and still rise up to paddle some more? This is same, you see. Rise up. Paddle some more. But don't let anyone dictate who you should be. Don't marry that girl/boy because your mom is blackmailing you with suicide. You will kill at least two lives, your own and that girl/boy's. Rise up. Hug. Smile. And let them know that you won't fake it up. Reject, more than you submit. Earn your living and move out if need be. Then go back. Hug. Smile. And let them know that you still love them. A lot. But you love yourself too. And hence you reject. Not them but the myth of heteronormativity. The electric shocks and the burden of their social status. Reject, if you must, the marriage questions. Reject to fit in. You were born to shine out. Shine out, for yourself and that niece or nephew or cousin or sibling or... let's say your father or mother, may be? Some people come out very late. And that's okay. Accept that as you want to be accepted. Hug. Smile. Reject, more than you submit.

To those who get their children electrocuted,

Don't do this. No, it's not about your children, if you do. It's about your ignorance on the subject. And no, I am not blaming you for your ignorance. May be you never had the opportunity to learn about it. Now that you are a parent (or other relative) to a person from alternate sexuality, here's one. Open up and learn. Don't burden yourself by the idea that you know it all. You don't. And it's okay. Don't try to hide your love for social prestige behind the pretext of love for your child. 'Coz you child know what the real reason is. Stand up and face the social pressure. Your child will respect you a thousand times more than what all those relatives. And let's be real; your child's love means a hell lot more than those random relatives. It's not their business to know "when will your son/daughter get married". Actually, it's not yours either. Accept, more than you reject. Hug. Smile. And accept him/her some more. Those electric shocks will not make him/her heterosexual, I bet. But it will leave your child scarred for life. And many other lives around. Remember, how you coached him to face the Math lesson when he was nervous? Now's your time. Google up and read about sexual diversity. It will do no harm. You can still reject the idea. But you don't have to reject your child, you see. Accept him/her, a little more than you can. You were his/her childhood heroine/hero; be one, now. Hug. Smile. Accept, more than you reject.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Classroom Stories VI

When Art Be The language

We were studying human settlement. He had used a certain some particular colors for jungle, villages and urban spaces. One could easily figure out which settlement he liked the most. I still asked, "which of three you like the most and why?" He said, "the village". He had spent maximum time drawing that part and had used some very vibrant colors there, while painting the urban space almost grey. We then watched a YouTube video on Human Settlements. I paused at the point where they showed a an image of rural versus urban (2:56 in the video) and asked, "observe this image and tell me, which one do you like better? Why?"

He went on to describe how the city is shown to be rich and prosperous while the village is shown with huts (that doesn’t look good). At this point, I asked him, “how is it different from your experience of the rural and urban?”

“Not all villages are like this. My village is very nice. I feel very peaceful there.”

“What did you just notice about the way we communicate what we want?”

“What do you mean?” he clarified.

“Ok. let me ask this way. When you were drawing your piece, what would an audience know about you versus what would they know about the maker of this video?”

“That this person doesn't like village much and I like?”

“How do you say that?”

“Because he has shown the village as bad. Villages are not that bad. There are poor people but then they don’t need all the money. I like to live in the village. It’s so peaceful. I like the city also. I have friends here. But I like the village more.”

We then went onto discuss how our own likes and dislikes (biases?) affect the way we communicate about certain things. It was so amazing to talk about so many diverse things - objectivity and communication, human settlements, their pros and cons and our experiences round these - through this one theme.

Thanks to art, it opened this kid up so much. Had I made him to write about it, he would have gone to sleep! He almost dislikes writing. I can understand that. Children learn language at different pace. His case is worsened by this age of manufactured aspiration to learn English (so that he can apparently live a better life) by a Fellowship-based program his school was part of (and they left the school for reasons unknown after two years of teaching him). Now he can’t speak/write in Marathi, his mother tongue, properly. Neither he is very expressive in English. Hindi, he uses only as language for peer group conversations. This kids is at loss of words. And that’s when art comes to our rescue. And videos. I think we need to break the entanglement of learning with language. While it’s important to learn language (speaking about it in academic sense), I think it’s not fair to limit a child’s chances just because his/her language competencies are developing at a pace other than the rest.

To read other Classroom Stories, visit following links: